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Sea at Pittenweem, Scotland, 2021.
When I am by the sea I feel most myself. I am both humbled by how small and insignificant I am and overwhelmed by how vast the sea is and how tremendous nature is. The waves lap and I am reassured of the ever flowing waters. There is so much I do not know and that is ok. There are so many things I do not have the answer to and that is liberatory. There is nothing I am truly in control of and my shoulders relax.
Being by the sea, in particular, helps me to connect to the Vastness. This is my word to help me to try and explain my experience of divinity, of that which is great than me. 'Ein Sof' - there is no end. This is a kabbalistic name for God - there is no end. Limited less Vastness. This Vastness breaks me out of myself and my constricted stories of what I need to be doing, who I am, questions of how I should be living my life and all the harmful 'shoulds' I invent. The Vastness opens me up. As we say with the morning blessings, 'Blessed are You, our Living God, Sovereign of the universe, You free those who are bound.' Freed from the narrowness (Mitzraim)* and open to the terrifying, awesome wilderness that awaits and holds such promise.
Embracing the Vastness, the Largeness of life and myself, is hard. I have been taught in so many ways, subtle and explicit, to remain small and remain constricted. Be thinner, don't be disruptive, smile, calm down, don't be dramatic, don't create conflict. Be small. Stay small. Stay in control. Be voiceless, society whispers to me.
The sea whispers...nothing. There is nothing but space. Space to fill, to be, to expand, to breath, to scream, to ride the waves, to be wet, to be reckless, to run, to laugh, to weep. And that is where I want to be.
Bless the largeness inside me, no matter how I fear it.
Ana in The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd.
* Mitzraim - A Proper Noun meaning Egypt but, at its root, this word has a sense of narrowness, of constriction.